Sie sind auf Seite 1von 4

258 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED

Cosmopolitan Insurance Co., Inc. vs. Reyes


No. L-20199. November 23, 1965.

THE COSMOPOLITAN INSURANCE Co., INC., plaintiff-appellee, vs. ANGEL B.


REYES, defendant-appellant.

Suretyship; Right of surety to demand from the indemnitors even before paying the
creditors.—The stipulation in the indemnity agreement allowing the surety to recover even
before it paid the creditor is enforceable. In accordance therewith, the surety may
demand from the indemnitors 'even before paying the creditors. (Security Bank vs. Globe
Assurance, 58 Off. Gaz. 3708, April 30, 1962.)

Attorney's fees; Where fifteen per cent award of attorney's fees, considered
reasonable.—The award of fifteen per cent

259

VOL. 15, NOVEMBER 23, 1965 259


Cosmopolitan Insurance Co., Inc. vs. Reyes
(15%) attorney's fees in the present case is not unreasonable. In the case of Cruz vs.
Court of Industrial Relations, et al, G.R, No. L-18277, August 31, 1963, the Supreme
Court sustained the award of attorney's fees to the petitioner computed at thirty per cent
(30%) as reasonable.
APPEAL from a decision of the Court of First Instance of Manila.
Gatmaitan, J.
The facts are stated in the opinion of the Court.
M. Perez Cardenas and Apolonio Abola for plaintiffappellee.
Francisco de la Fuente for defendant-appellant.

REGALA, J.:

This is an appeal from a decision of the Court of First Instance of


Manila and certified to us by the Court of Appeals as it involves only
a question of law, ordering appellant Angel B. Reyes to pay the
appellee Cosmopolitan Insurance Co., Inc., the sum of P10,645.38
plus fifteen (15) per cent thereof, for attorney's fees.
Indeed, the question presented is whether, under the Indemnity
Agreement of the parties, the appellee, as surety, can demand
indemnification from appellant Reyes as principal, upon the latter's
default, even before the former has paid to the creditor.
It appears that appellee Cosmopolitan Insurance Co., Inc., filed a
bond in favor of the Collector of Internal Revenue to secure the
payment in stated installments of the total amount of P25,422.85,
which appellant Reyes owed for income tax for the years, 1950,
1951, 1952 and 1953.
In consideration of the bond, appellant Reyes in turn signed an
Indemnity Agreement whereby he bound himself, among- other
things,—
"2) INDEMNITY:—To indemnify the COMPANY upon its demand and keep it indemnified for
and to hold and save it harmless from and against, any and all payments, damages, costs,
losses, penalties, charges and expenses of whatever kind and nature which the COMPANY
as such surety shall or may, at any time make, sustain, incur and/or suffer or for which it
has or may become liable to the obligee, and to pay an ad
260
260 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED
Cosmopolitan Insurance Co., Inc, vs. Reyes
ditional amount as attorney's fees equal to 20% of the amount due to the COMPANY by
virtue hereof which in no case shall be less than P50.00 and which shall be payable
whether or not the case be extrajudicially settled, it being understood that demand made
upon anyone of the undersigned herein is admitted as demand made on all of the
signatories hereof.

"3) ACCRUAL OF ACTION;—Notwithstanding the provision of the next preceding


paragraph where the obligation involves a liquidated amount for the payment of which the
COMPANY has become legally liable under the terms of the obligation and its suretyship
undertaking, or by the demand of the obligee or otherwise and the latter has merely
allowed the COMPANY a term or extension for payment of the latter's demand the full
amount necessary to discharge the COMPANY'S aforesaid liability irrespective of whether
or not payment has actually been made by the COMPANY, the COMPANY for the protection
of its interest may forthwith proceed against the undersigned or either of them by court
action or otherwise to enforce payment, even prior to making payment to the
obligee which may hereafter be done by the COMPANY;"

It is not -denied that because .of appellant Reyes' failure, the


amount of P10,645.38 became due and that, as a result, appellee
Cosmopolitan Insurance Co., Inc., became liable on its bond.
Appellant Reyes assails, however, the validity of paragraph 3 of
the Indemnity Agreement, which he contends is contrary to public
policy. He argues that under Article 2071 of the Civil Code, when
the debt has become demandable "the action of the guarantor is to
obtain release from the guaranty, or to demand a security that
shall protect him from any proceedings by the creditor and from
the danger of insolvency of the debtor" but not an action for
indemnification.
Elucidating further, the appellant raises the point that there is
absolutely no authority in any existing law allowing any person in
his capacity as guarantor, as in this case, to obtain, to recover, to
receive by way of money judgment from the debtor the amount
due to the creditor. The appellant further argues: What security
does appellant have, once the amount has been received by
appellee from appellant, that the same would be paid to the
Collector of Internal Revenue?
261
VOL. 15, NOVEMBER 23, 1965 261
Cosmopolitan Insurance Co., Inc. vs. Reyes
All these points are squarely answered by the doctrine or principle
laid down by this Court in the case of Security Bank vs. Globe
Assurance, 58 Off, Gaz. 3708 (April 80, 1962), where a similar
indemnity agreement of the parties is involved. In this case, the
Supreme Court held that:
"The stipulation in the indemnity agreement allowing the surety to recover even before it
paid the creditor is enforceable. In accordance therewith, the surety may demand from
the indemnitors even before paying the creditors."
In the case of Alto Surety and Insurance Co., Inc. vs. Aguilar, et
al., G.R. No. L-5625, March 16, 1954, the Court laid down the
following ruling:
"The contention of appellants that the action of appellee (surety company) is premature or
that complaint fails to state a cause of action because it does not allege that the appellee
has paid to the bank the balance of their obligation, cannot be sustained. This is belied not
only by the allegations of the complaint but also by the agreement entered into between
the appellants and the appellee in favor of the bank. Thus, it appears from the complaint
that the renewed promissory note became due and payable on May 27, 1950 without the
spouses having paid any amount on the account in spite of the repeated demands, as a
consequence of which plaintiff surety became liable to pay the bank the amount of
P1,150.00 plus interests, under the terms of the Indemnity Agreement, the liability of the
former as surety became immediately demandable upon occurrence of the latter's
(spouses) default."
Even after analyzing the provisions of the contract entered into
between the parties, we are of the opinion that they do not in any
way militate against the public good or that they are contrary to
the policy of the law.
The other point raised by the appellant is that the attorney's fees
awarded to the plaintiff are unreasonable or unconscionable. This is
also untenable. It is significant that the appellant did not raise the
issue of attorney's fees in his answer. Furthermore, we are of the
opinion that the award of fifteen (15) per cent attorney's fees in
this case is not unreasonable. In fact, in one case before the Court
of Industrial Relations (Cruz vs. Court of Industrial Relations, et
al., G.R. No. L-18277, August 31,
262
262 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED
Tiong vs. Republic
1963), this Court sustained the award of attorney's fees to the
petitioner computed at thirty (30) per cent, as reasonable.
IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, the decision of the Court of First
Instance is hereby affirmed. Without costs.

Bengzon, C.J., Bautista


Angelo, Concepcion, Dizon,Makalintal, Bengzon, J.P., and Zaldivar,
JJ., concur.

Barrera and Reyes, J.B.L., JJ., are on leave.

Decision affirmed.

Notes.—A contingent fee contract specifying the percentage of


recovery an attorney is to receive in a suit "should be reasonable
under all the circumstances of the case, including the risk and
uncertainty of the compensation, but should always be subject to
the supervision of a court as to Its reasonableness." Canon 13,
Code of Legal Ethics, Also, Sec. 24, Rule 188 of the Revised Rules
of Court; Amalgamated Laborers Association vs. Court of Industrial
Relations, 22 SCRA 1268, citing the case of Mambulao Lumber Co.
vs. Philippine National Bank, 22 SCRA 359), See also Cruz vs.
Court of Industrial Relations, 8 SCRA 828.
It is a established rule that the determination of attorey's fees
rests on the sound discretion of the Court. (Cariño vs. Agricultural
Credit and Cooperative Financing Admin-istration, 18 SCRA 183).
See also, Lopez vs. Pan American World Airways, 16 SCRA 431,
where the Court found the amount of attorney's fees stipulated as
reasonable under the circumstances of the case.

_______________